TRAVERSE CITY, MI – The Chrysler Pacifica minivan and the carbon-fiber liftgate on Toyota’s Prius Prime plug-in hybrid were among the winners of the Altair Enlighten awards at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars here. The awards recognize innovation in automotive lightweighting.

The ’17 Pacifica won the award in the Full Vehicle category for being 249 lbs. (113 kg) lighter than its predecessor.

Toyota’s carbon-fiber reinforced plastic closure panels on the ’17 Prius Prime and Lexus LC500 and Faurecia’s Adaptive Valve for exhaust systems used on the ʼ17 Chevrolet Silverado fullsize pickup truck were honored in the Module category.

Swedish metal-forming specialist AP&T claimed the Enabling Technology category for its aluminum-forming technology employed in production of several European vehicles.

The Pacifica used materials from advanced high-strength steel alloys to aluminum and cast magnesium in combination with computer simulation technologies to improve safety and noise, vibration and harshness performance while reducing weight.

Toyota’s winning entry included the side and luggage doors of the Lexus LC and the liftgate of the Prius Prime plug-in, which feature CFRP inner panels, combined with aluminum, glass-fiber reinforced plastic and polypropylene outers for components that are 47% lighter than conventional metal structures.

Faurecia’s Adaptive Valve is an offset shaft spring return butterfly valve located in the intermediate pipe of the exhaust system. Its purpose is to minimize NVH concerns caused by cylinder deactivation. It manages gas flow with variable amounts of restriction. The valve requires less package space than traditional systems and it reduced the muffler weight of the Silverado by 26.5 lbs. (12 kg).

In the enabling category, a new award introduced this year to honor manufacturers to save weight, AP&T is recognized for its aluminum-forming technology and the world’s first multipurpose production line for high-strength aluminum sheet metal.

dwinter@wardsauto.com